#voting #election #stv #meek

bin+lib stv-rs

Single Transferable Vote implementation in Rust

6 releases

0.2.0 Aug 4, 2023
0.1.4 Jun 12, 2023
0.1.3 May 22, 2023
0.1.1 Mar 26, 2023

#1 in #election

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Single Transferable Vote implementation in Rust

Crate Documentation Safety Dance Minimum Rust 1.67 Codecov Lines of Code Build Status Test Status Integration tests Status

This program is an implementation of Single Transferable Vote in Rust. The goal is to provide vote-counting transcripts that are reproducible with other vote-counting software, such as Droop.py.

For now, only Meek's counting method is implemented.

You can find more details in the following blog article: STV-rs: Single Transferable Vote implementation in Rust.


With Cargo:

$ RUST_LOG=$LOG_LEVEL cargo run \
  --release -- \
  --arithmetic $ARITHMETIC \
  --input ballots.txt \
  meek \
$ RUST_LOG=$LOG_LEVEL cargo run \
  --release -- \
  --arithmetic $ARITHMETIC \
  --input ballots.txt \
  meek \
  --parallel=<true|false> \

Arithmetic implementations

You can control the arithmetic used to count votes via the --arithmetic command-line flag. The following implementations are available.

  • fixed9: Each arithmetic operation is rounded to 9 decimal places. Rounding is downwards except for explicitly-marked operations (computing keep factors). This is backed by Rust's i64 and therefore might overflow. Compiling with the checked_i64 feature (enabled by default) will trap integer overflows and make the program panic, rather than continuing with incorrect numbers.
  • bigfixed9: Same as fixed9, but this is backed by a big integer type (from the num crate) and therefore won't overflow. On the flip side, this will be slower than fixed9.
  • float64: Use 64-bit floating-point arithmetic (Rust's f64). Generally fast but more brittle to reproduce, because the rounding introduced by floating-point arithmetic means that basic properties such as associativity and distributivity don't hold.
  • exact: Use exact rational numbers without rounding. The computational complexity is generally too high to complete more than a few rounds.
  • approx: Use exact rational numbers within each STV round, but then round the Meek keep factors after each round, to avoid computational complexity explosion.

Equalized counting

In this mode, ballots where candidates are ranked equally are counted as fairly as possible, by simulating a superposition of all possible permutations of equally-ranked candidates.

For example, the ballot a b=c becomes a superposition of a b c (with weight 1/2) and a c b (with weight 1/2). Likewise, the ballot a b=c=d is counted as a superposition of 6 ballots, each with weight 1/6: a b c d, a b d c, a c b d, a c d b, a d b c, a d c b.

Log levels

Besides the election transcript written to the standard output (which aims to be consistent with Droop.py for reproducibility), you can get more details via Rust's logging capabilities, controlled by setting the $RUST_LOG environment variable.

The log levels will provide the following information.

  • info: Print high-level results: election setup, elected/defeated candidates.
  • debug: info + print debug information about each STV round.
  • trace: debug + print how each ballot is counted in each round.

For more advanced logging control, please check the env_logger crate documentation.


To speed up the computation, you can enable parallelism via the --parallel command-line flag.

The vote-counting process involves accumulating votes across all ballots, summing the outcomes of counting each ballot. Without parallelism, this is done by a simple serial loop over the ballots. With parallelism enabled, a parallel loop is used instead, where each ballot is counted independently on any thread, and the sum is computed in any order.

Because the sum is computed in an arbitrary order, it is important to use an arithmetic where addition is commutative and associative, otherwise results won't be reproducible. This excludes float64, as addition is not associative.

Under the hood, the rayon crate is used to automatically schedule and spread the work across available CPU cores (map-reduce architecture).

Other STV implementations

Here is a non-exhaustive list of STV implementations.


See CONTRIBUTING.md for details.


Apache 2.0; see LICENSE for details.


This project is not an official Google project. It is not supported by Google and Google specifically disclaims all warranties as to its quality, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose.


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